Marriott Brings Back “Elite Guarantees”

Marriott has continued to promote its elite benefit guarantees despite suspending them during the pandemic. The key elements are,

  • Reservation guarantee. If they walk you they pay for your night’s accommodation elsewhere and pay you $100-$200 and up to 140,000 points.

  • Room type guarantee. If your reserved room and bed preferences aren’t met in the U.S. and Canada they owe you $35 – $100 (Titanium and Ambassador members receive this outside the U.S. and Canada as well.)

  • 48 Hour Guaranteed Availability Titanium and Ambassador members can book sold out hotels 48 hours or more in advance (at a premium rate).

  • Guaranteed lounge access and welcome gift for Platinum members and above. The welcome gift choice includes breakfast at most properties where there’s no lounge. Hotel penalty runs $25 – $100 depending on the brand.

While these guarantees were suspended some hotels refused to honor Platinum member breakfast, even where restaurants were open – a Platinum could buy breakfast, but wouldn’t receive their breakfast elite benefit. One example of this is the Key West Marriott.

It’s another matter where local regulations forbid hotels from offering restaurant breakfast, and they substituted ‘to go’ offerings.

Marriott announced in the Marriott Insiders Facebook group today that their elite guarantees have been restored.

Good afternoon Insiders!

In the spirit of sharing breaking program news here first, we’re excited to share another update with you today regarding our Elite Benefit Guarantees.

We are reinstating the elite guarantee compensation which had been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Please note that based on day-to-day business conditions at individual hotels and/or government regulations, properties may offer a breakfast alternative when lounges and restaurants are closed such as grab and go or credit for food and beverage purchases on property. As always, the Lounge and Welcome Gift elite benefit depends on brand and geographic regions.

This change takes effect today, January 11, 2021.

Enforcement of benefits like breakfast have been inconsistent at best across Marriott, so some hotels may still give you a stale bagel and call that your meal. But the intention here is to revert to the status quo before the pandemic, which was certainly better for members and guests than what it’s been the past 9 months.

There are numerous ways hotels have worked to get out of guarantees in the past, but I’ve claimed real cash from Marriott properties before when guaranteed benefits have been denied. And that makes it less attractive for hotels to continue to deny those benefits. So knowing that the promised guarantees are no longer suspended is helpful for Marriott elites everywhere.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is nothing but spin from Marriott. Perhaps because they faced a lawsuit for scamming customers for 9 months by never telling them that their benefits were suspended.

    There is enough vague wording and built-in conditions that Marriott will let properties continue claiming a paper bag with muffin and an apple is a breakfast even if the restaurant is open. Then there is that clause of the terms and conditions that allow “local policy” to override any defined benefit.

    Ignoring the stupid complexity of Marriott’s breakfast benefit (for example, you get it at St. Regis but not Ritz-Carlton), why is it so difficult for Marriott to define breakfast? Even Marriott-managed properties stiffed ambassadors and titaniums on breakfast before the pandemic. Some properties even claimed you could have a yogurt and bagel but not coffee because coffee wasn’t included. Others stuck you with a mandatory tip and tax. Marriott needs to fix this.

    I have no doubt that moving forward at some properties upwards of 50% of guests will have platinum, titanium or ambassador status. If anyone the platinums and titaniums should be most annoyed by free giveaway nights since there is no dollar threshold for those statuses.

    If club lounges every return they will need to seriously consider stripping complimentary lounge access for platinums on every stay. It is unsustainable.

  2. As lodging company, they were on the decline before the advent of the CO-VID.
    That just helped to hasten sliding to the bottom of hotels
    And now their stunt with the political donations announcement so they’ll lose more customers , Hilton does a better job- JW Sr has to rolling over in his grave

  3. Marriott’s Bonvoy is the best!
    Always a consistent product and service.
    Great selection of hotels and resorts across the world!

  4. LOL. I’m still waiting for a room guarantee compensation that I filed a claim for pre-covid travel a year ago. Now that every credit card holder is “Platinum”, fat chance any property will honor any of the stated benefits.

  5. I like the fact that Gary reports the good and the bad of programs like Bonvoy. By comparison, TPG just did a review of hotel elite status and this is how they addressed the ahem, the uhm challenges of Bonvoy:

    “As a Marriott Platinum Elite member, you’ll get perks including guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout, room upgrades, breakfast or lounge access at many brands, an annual selection of Choice Benefits including Suite Night Awards and more. There are some specific brands or types of hotels where some of these benefits don’t apply, but on the whole, Platinum turns out to be very useful at most Marriott properties.”

  6. I think that this is great news. I am not worried about a glut of Platinum members fighting me for breakfast as the hotel restaurants can usually handle the crowds especially as I see fewer conventions in the future. As a Hilton Diamond from a credit card which takes zero stays, I never have a problem getting my free breakfast As well I think that that probably not even 20% of general members will be mattress running to get Platinum or Amex Bonvoy Credit cards.

  7. I stayed at a Texas Marriott hotel last week. I am a Plat. When I checked in, they said the lounge was closed and they said my benefit would be 750 points. Their restaurant was open for breakfast. I told them I would choose the breakfast, but they still refused and said they didn’t have to give it to me. Later that night, I called the Marriott 800 number and told them what happened and that I wanted the promised $100 compensation. I talked to 3 different people, all of them claimed to be “supervisors” and they all said if they offer the 750, that’s in the T and C. It is not. The T&C specifically say that either I can get lounge access, and if it’s not available, I can choose breakfast. My question is, how can I contact someone from the Bonvoy rewards management team? I’m sure it won’t change anything, but it would make me feel better. any suggestions?

  8. @Razor It’s pathetic how they nickel and dime their Elite members. Happens to me all the time. You need to fight for what you’re entitled to; don’t let them get away with this.

  9. I appreciate your comment, and I agree they shouldn’t get away with it, but at some point you have to let it go, and either live with Marriott not enforcing the T&C or book at other hotels. After being shut down by several agents and the hotels, I am simply going to move my business. In spite of Marriott’s comment above, they have not reinstated any benefits nor any guarantees. I don’t have to fight with Hyatt to get their stated benefits.

  10. Go eat breakfast, tell them its free for elites and do they have the balls to charge your room. If they do, take it up with Marriott corporate, have the charge removed and recieve the $100 compensation.

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